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Justice Article Archive for 2012



The Secret Bailout of J. P. Morgan: How Insider Trading Looted Bear Stearns and the American Taxpayer
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 3, 2012

looting the taxpayerOne of many questions raised by John Olagues, an authority on stock options, in a March 23 article boldly titled "Bear Stearns Buy-out . . . 100% Fraud." Olagues maintains that the Bear Stearns collapse was artificially created to allow JPMorgan to be paid $55 billion of taxpayer money to cover its own insolvency and acquire its rival Bear Stearns, while at the same time allowing insiders to take large "short" positions in Bear Stearns stock and collect massive profits. For evidence, Olagues points to a very suspicious series of events, which will be detailed here.

Eliot Spitzer was eliminated from the scene, and it may be for similar reasons. Greg Palast suggested in a March 14 article that the "sin" of the former New York governor may have been something more serious than prostitution. Spitzer made the mistake of getting in the way of a $200 billion windfall from the Federal Reserve to the banks, guaranteeing the mortgage-backed junk bonds of the same banking predators responsible for the subprime debacle. While the Federal Reserve was trying to bail the banks out, Spitzer was trying to regulate them, bringing suit on behalf of consumers.10 But he was swiftly exposed and deposed; and the Treasury has now broached a new plan that would prevent such disruptions in the future. More...


The Lie that Prosecuting Bank Fraud Will Destabilize the Economy Is What Is REALLY Destroying the Economy
by Washington's Blog
Posted December 31, 2012

the fraud will continueFailing to prosecute white collar crime guarantees a weak and unstable economy and future financial crashes. The Departments of Justice and Treasury are pretending that criminally prosecuting criminal banksters will destabilize the economy.

The exact opposite is true. Unfortunately, the government made it official policy not to prosecute fraud, even though criminal fraud is the main business model adopted by the giant banks. Indeed, the government has done everything it can to cover up fraud, and has been actively encouraging criminal fraud and attacking those trying to blow the whistle. More...


Occupy Heavily Monitored for Potential Criminal Activity, HSBC Slapped on the Wrist for Actual Criminal Activity
by Jason Lewis
Posted December 28, 2012

HSBC narco money launderingApparently non-violent demonstration against corrupt banking is subject to more criminal scrutiny than actual corrupt banking.

Documents released by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund Saturday show that the FBI identified Occupy Wall Street as a "potential criminal and terrorist" threat as early as a month before the OWS movement burst on the international scene with its initial occupation of Zuccotti Park in September 2011.

"These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of PCJF, said in a release . "These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America." More...


The Final Battle
by Chris Hedges
Posted December 27, 2012

security stateThe corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution. It wants to have the legal measures to keep us cowed, afraid and under control.

It does not, I suspect, trust the police to maintain order. And this is why, contravening two centuries of domestic law, it has seized for itself the authority to place the military on city streets and citizens in military detention centers, where they cannot find redress in the courts. The shredding of our liberties is being done in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. But the NDAA is not about protecting us. It is about protecting the state from us. That is why no one in the executive or legislative branch is going to restore our rights. The new version of the NDAA, like the old ones, provides our masters with the legal shackles to make our resistance impossible. And that is their intention. More...


Long History of HSBC Money Laundering
by James Hall
Posted December 20, 2012

too big to jailIf there was any lingering doubt about the supremacy of the internationalist banker over the canons of law, the latest HSBC exemption from criminal charges proves that the real masters of the planet are the criminal banksters. If this settlement was an abnormality and not the rule, one might argue the expediency for pragmatism, while deployable, is necessary. Unfortunately, for the financial elites, the facts tell a very different story.

Instead of prosecuting criminal charges, the U.S. Department of Justice slaps a fine and demands stricter but inadequate regulations.The agreements put an end to uncertainty over the banks' ability to operate within America, a key link in their global networks; their share prices both rose on the day the fines were announced. And the penalties are, in effect, levied on shareholders; not one corporate employee faces charges. Has a handful of banks become not too big to fail, but too big to jail?" More...


SWAT Teams Arrest Peaceful People Resisting Eviction in Idaho Springs, CO
by Margaret Flowers
Posted November 1, 2012

is this the Middle East?Police militarization in Colorado: Cops in fatigues toting automatic weapons disperse anti-eviction activists. "Be advised that everybody on the property is trespassing." So said a Creek County Sheriff Department officer as he ordered activists off of private property yesterday.

He and his fellow officers looked like they were dressed for combat in a war zone, but in fact they had come to evict a woman from her home in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The following photos depict those officers, dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault weapons, before and during arrests of activists affiliated with Occupy Denver at yesterday's foreclosure defense. More...

The U.S. Bank would like to thank all the officers for a job well done. They really appreciate the publicly paid police protecting their private interests against those who would resist their greed.


In Washington, Fear the Silence, Not the Noise
by Peter Van Buren
Posted October 23, 2012

whistleblowers under attackOne thing is obvious. No one ever joins the government in order to be a whistleblower or leaker. Whistleblowers are created, not born. It is perhaps typical of whistleblowers and leakers that something they are privy to simply pushes them over the edge.

The Obama administration has already charged more people -- six -- under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases in American history.)

That Act has a sordid history, having once been used against the government's political opponents. Targets included labor leaders and radicals like Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman, and Emma Goldman. Debs, a union leader and socialist candidate for the presidency, was, in fact, sentenced to 10 years in jail for a speech attacking the Espionage Act itself. The Nixon administration infamously (and unsuccessfully) invoked the Act to bar the New York Times from continuing to publish the classified Pentagon Papers. More...


Spain Police Beating Everyone: A Warning To America
by Alexander Higgins
Posted October 12, 2012

Since September 25th the masses of Spain, no longer being able to feed themselves or their families, have risen up against the oligarchy to protest further budget cuts and massive tax increases, a situation so dire it threatens their very survival.

While the masses suffer these unspeakable atrocities the poor are being robbed yet again to bail out the rich. The overlords have no sympathy for the less fortunate and instead of forcing the bankers to take losses on their investments the ruling class remains disconnected from the reality of millions.

But as we have seen in every previous past crash situations such as these are used as nothing more than excuse to help the rich reduce their own tax burden and the operating costs of the corporations they run. Soon America will face the same fate as its own financial house is much worse than that of Spain. More...


Woman Arrested for Trespassing on Her Own Land
by Kevin Zeeze
Posted October 6, 2012

Trespassing on her own land?The arrest took place on Fairchild's own property, where Canadian pipeline company TransCanada is clearcutting forests to make a path for the southern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, designed to bring tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas refineries.

"How can you be arrested for "trespassing" on your own land?" asked members from Tar Sands Blockade in a statement. "Well, anything can happen when a multi-national corporation comes in and expropriates your farm for their profit."

It is those who oppose the abusive power of eminent domain taking Americans lands for a Canadian corporation. It is those who see the need for us to transform to a carbon-free nuclear-free energy environment to a clean, grean, sustainable energy environment. It is economists who see the U.S. getting very little out of the TransCanada deal but taking a lot of risk with our enviroment and economy. It is all Americans who oppose corporate power controlling major decisons in our lives. More...


The NDAA Decision and the Unknown Power of Obama
By Charles P. Pierce
Posted October 6, 2012

indefinite detentionThe Obama administration got a big win on Tuesday night in its ongoing brawl with civil liberties.

Let's be clear: Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act is in the NDAA because the current president wants it in there, and because the current president wants the power to detain indefinitely anyone he and the intelligence community see as a threat, whether that person is an American or not. If that weren't the case, he never would have signed it. If that weren't the case, he wouldn't have sent the Department of Justice into court to fight the lower court's stay of that specific provision of the bill.

The fact is that we don't know how this power is being used right now. The fact is that, if someone were to come forward and anonymously provide proof that this power is being abused, history says that this White House would move heaven and earth to run that whistleblower to ground and toss him in the clink if it so desired. More...


The Real Drug Kingpins are on Wall Street
by Global Research
Posted October 3, 2012

drug money launderingIn March 2010, Wachovia was found guilty of having laundered at least $378 billion (yes, billion with a "b") in drug money from 2004-07 for Mexican drug cartels, the same gangs that have wreaked murder and misery on much of Mexico, leaving more than 40,000 dead. Without money launderers, the big-time drug cartels cannot function.

The majority of people in U.S. jails are there for small-time drug offenses, while the big criminals making millions in drug money get immunity.In U.S. federal court, conviction of possession of crack cocaine with a street value of only $378 results in a minimum sentence of 5-10 years in prison. The majority of the 2.3 million jailed people in the United States are there for small-time drug offenses.

So, the Wachovia executives, who admitted their guilt, must have gotten really long sentences for their $378 billion drug business, right? Not exactly. Not one Wachovia executive spent a night or even an hour in jail, although the value of their crime was 1 billion times greater than the average street dealer. More...


9 Frightening Things About America's Biggest Police Force
by Tana Ganeva & Laura Gottesdiener
Posted September 2, 2012

NYPD out of controlIn the decade after 9/11, Americans' privacy rights have been violated in a variety of technologically intrusive ways, with the help of everything from spy drones to wiretaps. But few programs package together so many potential privacy infringements as ambitiously as the Domain Awareness System, (DAS) created by the NYPD in partnership with Microsoft. Pam Martens reported last year that the surveillance control center has spots for representatives of those famous crime-fighters, Wall Street's big banks. Reporter Neal Ungerleider from Fast Company also says he saw seats reserved for the Federal Reserve, Bank of New York, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, and Citigroup.

When police officers' misconduct does actually land them in a jury trial, they are rarely convicted. Police officers who break the code of silence often encounter fierce repercussions. When police officer Adrian Schoolcraft captured internal corruption on a hidden video camera and leaked the tapes to the press, the NYPD locked him up in a psychiatric ward. More...


The Federal Reserve, a Privately Owned Banking Cartel, Has Been Given Police Powers, with Glock 22s and Patrol Cars: Shocking signs of business control of government
by Pam Martens
Posted September 25, 2012

private bank police forceBy mid morning on Monday, September 17, as Occupy Wall Street protesters marched around the perimeter of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, all signs that an FRPD (Federal Reserve Police Department) existed had disappeared. The FRPD patrol cars and law enforcement officers had been replaced by NYPD patrol cars and officers. That decision may have been made to keep from drawing attention to a mushrooming new domestic police force that most Americans do not know exists.

Quietly, without fanfare or Congressional hearings, the USA Patriot Act in 2001 bestowed on the 12 privately owned Federal Reserve Banks, domestic policing powers.According to a former St. Louis Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Training Instructor, the officers are trained on pistol, rifle, auto-rifle, sub-gun and shotgun with manufacturers encompassing Smith & Wesson, Glock, Remington and Armalite. More...


Unlike Afghan Leaders, Obama Fights for Power of Indefinite Military Detention
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted September 19, 2012

indefinite detention for Americans[According to the Federal District Court] while the president is entitled to deference in his conduct of war, he's not entitled to wield the power to order people, including American citizens, indefinitely imprisoned in military detention. Regardless of how he claims he intends to exercise this power, the mere act of vesting it in him so chills the exercise of first amendment and other protected rights that the constitution can have no meaning if courts permit it to stand.

In response to this ruling, the Obama administration not only filed an immediate appeal, but they filed an emergency motion asking the appeals court to lift the injunction pending the appeal. Obama lawyers wrote a breathless attack on the court's ruling, denouncing it as "vastly troubling" and claiming that it "threatens tangible and dangerous consequences in the conduct of an active military conflict" and "threatens irreparable harm to national security." More...


Why There's No Jail Time for Wall Streeters
by Shah Gilani
Posted September 16, 2012

get out of jail freeWall Street is a "protected" operation. Protected means cops are aware of illegal activity, but are paid off to look the other way and even protect businesses from potential harm. So, if you're waiting to get back into the markets once the trash has been taken out, you're about to find out your wait may be a lot longer than you expected.

Don't even get yourself started on the whole Jon Corzine of collapsed MF Global fame. If you look up the word "protected" in the dictionary, you will see a picture of J.C. with his resume as former governor, former senator and former head of Goldman Sachs -- now that's protected.

So, while Rome burnt to a crisp, the protectors did their thing and are continuing to do it. And, they'll do it as long as it takes for the statutes of limitation on these crimes to run out. Which is happening, starting already. More...


House Approves Sweeping, Warrantless Electronic Spy Powers
by David Kravets
Posted September 15, 2012

you are being watchedThe House on Wednesday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the George W. Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and the Obama administration has called its passage a top intelligence priority. (.pdf) The bill generally requires the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to rubber-stamp terror-related electronic surveillance requests that ensnare Americans' communications.

The government does not have to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. The court's rulings are not public. More...


Bankruptcy for Billionaires
by Daniel Gross
Posted Sept 7, 2012

take the money and runWhen a debt-laden company (like Contec) owned by a private-equity firm (like Bain) runs into trouble, the bespoke-suited bankers have a few options. They can roll up their Thomas Pink shirtsleeves and attempt a turnaround, deploy idle money in their funds to shore up the company, or sell profitable investments in the fund to raise new cash. Or the guys who own the private-equity firm—hell-bent on salvaging the investment and preserving jobs—could use part of their vast fortunes to pay the debt.

They rarely do. In fact, companies owned and effectively managed by billionaires routinely fall behind or default on their obligations, all for want of a few million dollars. LifeCare Holdings, a hospital chain owned by the Carlyle Group, missed a $5.5 million interest payment due Aug. 15 on $119.3 million in notes. It's worth mentioning that Carlyle's top three executives earned a combined $400 million in 2011. Walking away from bad debts is a feature—not a bug—of the industry. This year Standard & Poor's has tallied 29 major debt defaults by large U.S. companies. By my count, at least 14 were backed by private-equity firms. More...


The Sentinel Case – Another Nail in the Coffin of 'Market Confidence'
By Pater Tenebrarum
Posted Sept 3, 2012

your money is not safeObviously we are not acquainted with all the details of the case, but there are a few obvious inferences we can draw from the above:

1. What has already come to light in the context of the MF Global case has been confirmed by this case: the so-called 'segregation' of customer funds always was and remains a legal fiction. Segregation of customer funds simply does not exist. Brokers can do with their clients funds whatever they like, just as long as it is not 'intentional fraud'.

2. If customer funds are misappropriated and used as collateral for loans intended for the brokerage's own business dealings, then the 'nemo dat' principle can be safely ignored by the court. Banks that received what were essentially misappropriated goods as collateral do not have to return them to their original owners as long as they are deemed to have acted in good faith. A bank is not forced to exercise care to the extent of ensuring that funds offered as collateral belong to the broker and are not part of the 'segregated' accounts of customers. More...


Corporate Crime Does Pay
by David Morris
Posted August 29, 2012

crime paysLast year big business paid the Securities and Exchange Commission $2.8 billion to settle disputes.Sounds like an awful lot of money. And it is, for you and me. But is it a lot of money for corporate lawbreakers? The best way to determine that is to see whether the penalties have deterred them from further wrongdoing.

The empirical evidence argues they don't. A 2011 New York Times analysis of enforcement actions during the last 15 years found at least 51 cases in which 19 Wall Street firms had broken anti fraud laws they had agreed never to breach. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others, have settled fraud cases by stipulating they would never again violate an anti fraud law, only to do so again and again and again. More...


The Pursuit of Julian Assange is an Assault on Freedom and a Mockery of Journalism
by John Pilger
Posted August 24, 2012

freedom of the press?The British government's threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonour international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorismin London on 7 July 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.

Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an "alleged criminal", Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain. The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain's part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the "human rights record" of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington. More...


Classified Life: Sibel Edmonds' Story
by Sibel Edmonds
Posted August 20, 2012

Sibel EdmondsSibel Edmonds is a former language specialist for the FBI, where she reported serious acts of security breaches and cover-ups - for which she was retaliated against and ultimately fired. Her memoir, "Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story," takes readers on a journey inside the FBI after 9/11, and through the halls of Congress and a stonewalling judiciary.

In late September 2001, Edmonds took a job as a translator at the FBI. The bureau was desperate for Middle Eastern language speakers and Edmonds, who spent her childhood in Iran and Turkey and is fluent in Farsi, Turkish and Azerbaijani, was eager to help. She had no idea that she would find herself targeted for uncovering espionage within the FBI and witness a stunning cover-up. More...


Economic Collapse, We Still Don't Get It
by Andy Sutton
Posted August 18, 2012

collapse now inevitableAsk 10 people you know about MFGlobal and see if anyone can give you the bottom line. It was labeled by the media as an accident and an aberration, but it is much more than that. It is a blueprint. It was a trial balloon designed to see how much outrage would flow over the fact that over a billion dollars in client funds was stolen and not one single arrest has been made.

An appeals court in the US has already ruled that clients in these types of situations have no recourse; that the actions of Jon Corzine and his good buddies on Wall Street are not only acceptable, they're legal as well. And the outrage? Nonexistent. Given the fact that the average 55 year old has roughly $26,000 saved for retirement, a billion dollars makes up the retirement accounts of over 38,400 such individuals. And there is no outrage. Then there was another failure, this time 'only' $220 million disappears. That failure barely generated any attention whatsoever from the media and negligible outrage outside the circle of folks who really pay attention to such matters. More...


It's Game Over, Goldman Sachs Has Won
by Shah Gilani
Posted August 16, 2012

justice dept incompetenceOn Thursday, the Justice Department ended its fraud probe of Goldman Sachs.

It turns out that, after looking up Goldman's skirt, they found that all that screwing going on up there was just part of the orgy that most Americans were reveling in.In other words, that whole mortgage screw-all, it was all between consenting adults.

But no one wants to admit that absolute power corrupts absolutely, or that there's any such thing as "regulatory capture."If you don't know that term, it's what we call it when a regulatory body, charged with acting in the public interest, is instead swept away and dominated by the interests of the sector it's supposed to be regulating.

They said, Sure, our job is prosecuting financial fraud, but "protecting the integrity of our banking system" is and will continue to be the department's "top priority." More...


The Ascendancy of a Criminal Financial Elite
by Professor James Petras
Posted August 15, 2012

financial criminal impunityOverwhelming documentation supports the notion that the US police and judicial system has totally broken down when it comes to enforcing the law of the land regarding crimes among the financial, banking, corporate elite.

Trillion-dollar tax-evaders, billionaire financial swindlers and multi-billionaire money launderers are almost never sent to jail. While some may pay a fine, none have their illicit earnings seized even though many are repeat criminals. Recidivism among financial criminals is rife because the penalties are so light, the profit are so high and the investigations are infrequent, superficial and inconsequential.

While the Security and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department and the Senate Banking Committee all make a public pretense of investigating high financial crimes, their real function is to protect these institutions from any efforts to transform their structure, operations and role in the US economy. The fines, which were recently levied, are high by previous standards but still only amount to, at most, a couple of weeks' profits. More...


Eric Holder to US: Nothing To See On Wall St, Just Move Along
Richard Eskow
Posted August 12, 2012

won't bite the hand that feeds himYesterday the Justice Department announced that once again it's not going to pursue evidence of Wall Street crimes which has been sent its way. It has already failed to act on information sent to it by sources whose investigators are apparently more dogged than its own, including several other government agencies and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Now the bipartisan committee which was led by Senators Carl Levin and Tom Coburn can be added to the list of sources whose leads weren't pursued by Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff.

Holder was on the defensive yesterday, a sign that the mounting criticism of his inaction is getting his attention. He was also scornful of that criticism, saying that it's belied by "a troublesome little thing called facts." There's something troublesome here, all right, but it isn't the facts. More...

Another article on how Eric Holder refuses to prosecute Wall Street fraud. Don't forget that during the Savings and Loan Crisis, despite the fact that it was 1/70 the size of the 2008 crisis, there were thousands of sucessful felony prosecutions. It can be done, but only if there is a will.


The LIBOR Scandal Explained
Posted August 10, 2012

LIBOR fraudHow Does This Impact YOU?

In addition to having municipalities receive lower returns on their loans around the time of the financial crisis, it appears that US home buyers may have been scammed out of nearly a half-trillion Dollars on overpriced mortgage payments:

Early analysis suggests that for a period of several years before and after the 2008 financial crisis, the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) was manipulated to such an extent that a family with a $100,000 mortgage would have been $50 to $100 worse off a month because of the fixing.

$100/month per family x ~100 million families = $10 billion stolen per month in the United States alone.

Or $120 billion per year. For several years.

In the United States alone this is quite-plausibly a half-trillion dollar heist.

By fixing LIBOR rates (high or low) & using leverage on derivative investments, there are a near infinite number of ways for banksters to skim trillions of Dollars from the productive economy. More...

"This is the world's biggest banks stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It's the equivalent of robbing a charity or church fund to pay for lap dances."
Matt Taibbi


Freedom of Assembly in Charlotte NC?
by Brett Redmayne-Titley
Posted August 7, 2012

won't fall for that againIn less than thirty days one of the two broken halves of American democracy will attempt to hide its shattered remnants from public view in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democratic National Convention, or DNC, will be here from September 2 -6, 2012. Now, America's disenfranchised, under represented, and oppressed, opposition groups are mobilizing. What once was "Hope" at the "08 DNC is now collective disgust. Objectively, there is much to be said to the current US administration. Thousands are coming to Charlotte to shout it.

The Dept of Homeland Security also gave local North Carolina US military posts $25 million to also get a stock of reptilian armor, so they can be ready just in case. The cops had their hands full before Occupy became a new concern just last October. Now, they are really worried.

Free-speech rights were, of course, the first thing to go in preparation for the DNC/ Charlotte. Empowered with their new authority the Charlotte City Council began redefining the First Amendment as quickly as December 2011. First, were the arbitrary prohibitions on backpacks, marking pens, helmets, tents, and other personal property including the right to a warrantless search for said items, at any time, by Charlotte police. More...


Occupy Wall Street Protests Need Outside Review On NYPD Abuses: Lawyers' Group
by John Rudolf
Posted August 5, 2012

NYPD excessesNew York City police used unnecessarily aggressive tactics and excessive force against peaceful protesters and illegally suppressed press freedoms during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, an eight-month investigation by a group of attorneys found. Those conclusions were based on hundreds of hours of video footage, detailed witness interviews, and extensive firsthand observations of the protests, according to the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which detailed the findings in a nearly 200-page report released Wednesday.

The group, which includes attorneys from Harvard, Stanford and Rutgers law schools, called on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to launch an independent inquiry into the police response to the protests. Bloomberg maintained during and after the demonstrations that the police response was lawful and appropriate, with the exception of a handful of incidents. More...


Iceland Has Jailed Bankers. Why Can't We?
by Chaz Bolte
Posted July 27, 2012

Jail the bankersThe people of Iceland are currently doing what Americans can only dream of, dismantling a corrupt political system and arresting the bankers who caused the country's financial collapse in 2008.

They have rewritten their constitution so such abuses of power and trust will (hopefully) never be allowed again. The process of changing their government took several years and was based around rejecting violence and using peaceful progressive consumer resistance.

Dismayed by their bankrupt status, Icelanders began to research where their money went and refused to spend money on products that profited the corporations who caused the collapse. Iceland is home to the world's oldest democracy — standing since 930 — so its people took peacefully to the streets demanding change and educating neighbors on how to maximize their efforts. More...


This Global Financial Fraud and its Gatekeepers
by Naomi Wolf
Posted July 17, 2012

systemic corruptionThe New York Times business section on 12 July shows multiple exposes of systemic fraud throughout banks: banks colluding with other banks in manipulation of interest rates, regulators aware of systemic fraud, and key government officials (at least one banker who became the most key government official) aware of it and colluding as well. Fraud in banks has been understood conventionally and, I would say, messaged as a glitch. As in London Mayor Boris Johnson's full-throated defense of Barclay's leadership last week, bank fraud is portrayed as a case, when it surfaces, of a few "bad apples" gone astray.

In the New York Times business section, we read that the HSBC banking group is being fined up to $1bn, for not preventing money-laundering (a highly profitable activity not to prevent) between 2004 and 2010 -- a six years' long "oops." In another article that day, Republican Senator Charles Grassley says of the financial group Peregrine capital: "This is a company that is on top of things." The article goes onto explain that at Peregrine Financial, "regulators discovered about $215m in customer money was missing." Its founder now faces criminal charges. Later, the article mentions that this revelation comes a few months after MF Global "lost" more than $1bn in clients' money. More...


The Wall Street Scandal of All Scandals
by Robert Reich
Posted Julay 15, 2012

Scandal of all scandalsJust when you thought Wall Street couldn't sink any lower – when its myriad abuses of public trust have already spread a miasma of cynicism over the entire economic system, giving birth to Tea Partiers and Occupiers and all manner of conspiracy theories; when its excesses have already wrought havoc with the lives of millions of Americans, causing taxpayers to shell out billions (of which only a portion has been repaid) even as its top executives are back to making more money than ever; when its vast political power (via campaign contributions) has already eviscerated much of the Dodd-Frank law that was supposed to rein it in, including the so-called "Volker" Rule that was sold as a milder version of the old Glass-Steagall Act that used to separate investment from commercial banking – yes, just when you thought the Street had hit bottom, an even deeper level of public-be-damned greed and corruption is revealed.

Suppose the bankers are manipulating the interest rate so they can place bets with the money you lend or repay them – bets that will pay off big for them because they have inside information on what the market is really predicting, which they're not sharing with you. That would be a mammoth violation of public trust. And it would amount to a rip-off of almost cosmic proportion – trillions of dollars that you and I and other average people would otherwise have received or saved on our lending and borrowing that have been going instead to the bankers. It would make the other abuses of trust we've witnessed look like child's play by comparison. More...


The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption
by Eduardo Porter
Posted July 12, 2012

corporate corruptionPerhaps the most surprising aspect of the Libor scandal is how familiar it seems. Sure, for some of the world's leading banks to try to manipulate one of the most important interest rates in contemporary finance is clearly egregious. But is that worse than packaging billions of dollars worth of dubious mortgages into a bond and having it stamped with a Triple-A rating to sell to some dupe down the road while betting against it? Or how about forging documents on an industrial scale to foreclose fraudulently on countless homeowners?

The misconduct of the financial industry no longer surprises most Americans. Only about one in five has much trust in banks, according to Gallup polls, about half the level in 2007. And it's not just banks that are frowned upon. Trust in big business overall is declining. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe corruption is widespread across corporate America. According to Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, nearly three in four Americans believe that corruption has increased over the last three years. More...

Massive financial fraud going unprosecuted guarantees that the fraud will continue. The economy will not recover until fraud is prosecuted.


Assange's Last Stand
by Justin Raimondo
Posted July 8, 2012

Julian Assange truth tellerIf there was ever a clear-cut case of good versus evil, then surely it is the contest between Julian Assange and most of the world's governments. They hate him because he exposed their lies, their manipulations, and their routine violations of the most elementary rules of human decency. By publishing virtually the entire corpus of messages sent to and fro between Mordor Washington and their Nazgul diplomats in the field, WikiLeaks has given us the true history of the world in modern times, or, at least, a good glimpse into its secret underside historians rarely uncover.

The release of the "Collateral Murder" video showing the shooting of journalists and innocents in Iraq by our cackling wise-cracking US military pilots was arguably the tipping point in the public relations battle, after which support for continued prosecution of the war even among the political elites dropped precipitously and never recovered. It was the 21st century equivalent of the infamous photo of a napalmed Vietnamese children running down a road, an icon of another unpopular and utterly immoral war. That's why Bradley Manning, who probably supplied the video to WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado for over a year, subjected to treatment the UN defines as torture. He will never get a fair trial in the US. More...


LIBOR Exposure Of Banker Corruption, Bank Of England And U.S. Fed Both Implicated
by Jim Willie CB
Posted July 5, 2012

LIBOR scandalFew observers make the connection, but the current LIBOR scandal is a middle inning of two important events. The first is the demise of the Western banker leadership crew. The executives from the most powerful banks will be last to be deposed, all sharing an ethnic strain. The second is the open fracture of the Western financial system. Over the past few years, to be sure a great many people have grown tired of Jackass descriptions of corruption within the banking sector and financial system in general. Well, hear this: TOLD YA SO! The London Interbank Offered Rate scandal will erupt into an uncontrollable firestorm, hitting one chamber and then the next, with rapid contagion.

The evidence for price rig has been glaring for years. The big banks have skimmed the difference for profit for years. Imagine selling milk or concrete with a variation in price at the wholesale level, enabling vast profits from skimming. It has been permitted for the big banks, a grand blemish on an already scarred sector. More...


The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
by Matt Taibbi
Posted June 24, 2012

bank fraudHow America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape

Instead of anything resembling real censure, a few young executives got spanked, while the offending banks got off with slap-on-the-wrist fines and were allowed to retain their pre-eminent positions in the municipal bond market. Last year, the two leading recipients of public bond business, clocking in with more than $35 billion in bond issues apiece, were Chase and Bank of America – who combined had just paid more than $365 million in fines for their role in the mass bid rigging. Get busted for welfare fraud even once in America, and good luck getting so much as a food stamp ever again. Get caught rigging interest rates in 50 states, and the government goes right on handing you billions of dollars in public contracts.

Over the years, many in the public have become numb to news of financial corruption, partly because too many of these stories involve banker-on-banker crime. The notorious Abacus deal involving Goldman Sachs, for instance, involved a hedge-fund billionaire ripping off a couple of European banks – who cares? But the bid-rigging scandal laid bare in USA v. Carollo is a totally different animal. This is the world's biggest banks stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, and turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It's the equivalent of robbing a charity or a church fund to pay for lap dances. More...


Members of Senate Banking Committee Will Question Their Top Donor: JP Morgan Chase
by Anthony Badami
Posted June 12, 2012

SEnate Banking CommitteeOf the 22 members on the Congressional hearing charged this week with questioning JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon over his bank's $2 billion trading loss, 7 members, including the Chairman and a ranking member, have JPMorgan as one of their top five political contributors. What's more alarming, the entire Congressional panel is fraught with political donations from the "Securities and Investment" industry. The grand total? $13,423,762.

How can we expect a fair outcome when the Congressional committee charged with holding Dimon accountable is bought and paid for by his bank and industry? More...


35,948 Arrested Yesterday
by Maya Schenwar
Posted May 23, 2012

IN the land of the freeLast Friday, the day the NATO 3 were arrested, approximately 35,948 people were arrested across the United States. On Sunday, when at least 45 protesters were arrested at Chicago's NATO summit protests, approximately 35,948 Americans - the number arrested on a daily basis in the US, according to FBI statistics - were handcuffed, read their Miranda rights (maybe), carted off to jail and booked. The plurality of those people were arrested for nonviolent drug crimes. Some of these people will be charged, convicted, prosecuted and jailed.

In many ways, the US 2.3 Million are an invisible 1 percent of the 99 percent: they go to jail poor, they work for slave wages, they're deprived of basic rights and dignity, they can't vote (thus forfeiting even the most modest semblance of democratic participation) - and then they're released, even poorer, with little support, sporting a blotch on their record that will no doubt discourage prospective employers. More...

How can the US continue to proclaim itself "the land of the free" when it has the largest prison population in the world? This is true per capita or in absolute numbers.


Know Your Rights When Recording Police
by Steve Silverman
Posted May 17, 2012

Know your rightsLast week the City of Boston agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit stemming from his 2007 felony arrest for videotaping police roughing up a suspect. Prior to the settlement, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Glik had a "constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public." The Boston Police Department now explicitly instructs its officers not to arrest citizens openly recording them in public.

Slowly but surely the courts are recognizing that recording on-duty police is a protected First Amendment activity. But in the meantime, police around the country continue to intimidate and arrest citizens for doing just that. So if you're an aspiring cop watcher you must be uniquely prepared to deal with hostile cops. More...


American Arrested Using Predator Drone, Had Rights Violated, Lawyer Says
Posted May 6, 2012

drones over the U.S.Bruce Quick, attorney for the first American arrested using an unmanned drone says his client was subject to "guerrilla-like police tactics." "The whole thing is full of constitutional violations," Quick told U.S. News. "The drone use is a secondary concern."

Brossart was in a dispute with authorities over the ownership of six cows that had meandered onto his land. The Grand Forks SWAT team borrowed a Predator drone from the Department of Homeland security to make sure it was safe to arrest Brossart, authorities told the paper.

The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that's true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we've seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters. More...


Washington Leads The World Into Lawlessness
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term
Posted April 15, 2012

lawlessnessThe US government pretends to live under the rule of law, to respect human rights, and to provide freedom and democracy to citizens. Washington's pretense and the stark reality are diametrically opposed. US government officials routinely criticize other governments for being undemocratic and for violating human rights. Yet, no other country except Israel sends bombs, missiles, and drones into sovereign countries to murder civilian populations. The torture prisons of Abu Gahraib, Guantanamo, and CIA secret rendition sites are the contributions of the Bush/Obama regimes to human rights.

Washington violates the human rights of its own citizens. Washington has suspended the civil liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution and declared its intention to detain US citizens indefinitely without due process of law. President Obama has announced that he, at his discretion, can murder US citizens whom he regards as a threat to the US. Congress did not respond to these extraordinary announcements with impeachment proceedings. There was no uproar from the federal courts, law schools, or bar associations. Glenn Greenwald reports that the Department of Homeland Security harasses journalists who refuse to be "presstitutes", and we have seen videos of the brutal police oppression of peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors. More...


Citizens United 2.0, Expected to Hit the Supreme Court in Early 2013
by Mark Kogan
Posted April 11, 2012

Corporations are not peopleWhile the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act is sure to grab headlines as the 2012 presidential campaign begins its home stretch, the Court is gearing up to hear another contentious issue early next year.

The Supreme Court is expected to grant review in the case of American Traditions Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, a case legal experts have dubbed Citizens United 2.0. Citizens United v. FEC was a 2009 case which held that provisions of federal election law prohibiting independent organizations from running political advertisements within 60 days of a general election (or 30 days of a primary) violated the the First Amendment.

American Traditions comes to the Supreme Court by way of the Montana Supreme Court, where a law prohibiting independent corporate political expenditures was upheld as constitutional, in seeming defiance of the Supreme Court's holding in Citizens United. More...


As Occupy Arrestees Arraigned, Iris Scans Affect Bail
By Nick Pinto
Posted April 5, 2012

Police state growsThe first of the more than 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested Saturday afternoon and evening were arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Exhausted by a night and day in jail and shaken by the violence of the police response to Occupy Wall Street's six-month anniversary celebration, many burst into tears of relief when they were finally released to the friendly welcome of the movement's Jail Support team.

But protesters and their legal advisers were surprised yesterday to learn that the size of their bail was being affected by whether defendants were willing to have the distinctive patterns of their irises photographed and logged into a database. More...

And the police state slowly and insidiously keeps growing while the nation numbs its mind with gladiator games (football etc), celebrity worship, gossip and reality TV.


How Does a 'Common Citizen' Know If They Can Be Target of NDAA?
by Kevin Gosztola
Posted April 2, 2012

human rights US styleAt the start of the first hearing on a lawsuit challenging the Homeland Battlefield Act, a federal judge appeared to be "extremely skeptical" that those pursuing the challenge had grounds to sue the US government. However, by the end of the hearing, the judge acknowledged plaintiffs had made some strong arguments on why there was reason to be concerned about the Act, which passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on New Year's Eve last year.

Back in December, Congress passed the law but there wasn't unanimous support. There was a level of consternation over what the Obama Administration was asking members of Congress to do. Much of that dismay came from a broad political spectrum of Americans that found the law to be an assault on civil liberties. Amendments were proposed but failed to pass. More...


The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost
by Chris Hedges
Posted March 28, 2012

Hedges sues gopvernment over NDAAIt is in conference rooms like this one, where attorneys speak in the arcane and formal language of legal statutes, that we lose or save our civil liberties. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, the employment of the Espionage Act by the Obama White House against six suspected whistle-blowers and leakers, and the Homeland Battlefield Bill have crippled the work of investigative reporters in every major newsroom in the country. Government sources that once provided information to counter official narratives and lies have largely severed contact with the press. They are acutely aware that there is no longer any legal protection for those who dissent or who expose the crimes of state. The NDAA threw in a new and dangerous component that permits the government not only to silence journalists but imprison them and deny them due process because they "substantially supported" terrorist groups or "associated forces."

The law can be used to detain individuals who are not members of terrorist organizations but have provided, in the words of the bill, substantial support even to "associated forces." But what constitutes substantial? What constitutes support? What are these "associated forces"? What is defined under this law as an act of terror? What are the specific activities of those purportedly "engaged in hostilities against the United States"? None of this is answered. And this is why, especially as acts of civil disobedience proliferate, the NDAA law is so terrifying. It can be used by the military to seize and detain citizens and deny legal recourse to anyone who defies the corporate state. More...


Four Whistleblowers Who Sounded the Alarm on Banks' Mortgage Shenanigans
by Cora Currier
Posted March 25, 2012

bank fraudBuried in the sweeping mortgage settlement with banks, for which final documents were filed this week, are five whistleblower cases that shed light on the litany of foreclosure abuses by the banks.

According to one suit, Bank of America allegedly passed bad loans on to the Federal Housing Administration. According to another, the bank allegedly denied qualified homeowners access to HAMP, the government's loan modification program. More...


Former NSA Official's Advice to Fellow Whistleblowers: "You Better Lawyer Up"
by Sam Knight
Posted March 20, 2010

Thomas DrakePerhaps no such case is more controversial and worrying than the failed prosecution of former National Security Agency (NSA) senior official turned whistleblower, Thomas Drake. Drake helped shed light on the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping through two Congressional investigations of 9/11; a Defense Department Inspector General audit of the NSA regarding waste, fraud and constitutional abuse; and, finally, through the disclosure of non-classified information to Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman in 2006 and 2007,which triggered the government's criminal investigation (Drake said that internal whistleblowing had already made officials eager to retaliate up until that point).

That is, he agreed to a substantially diluted plea deal four years after his house was first raided in the dead of night; after he was branded as a traitor, lost his job and his pension and ended up working at an Apple Store (which is no walk in the park, according to a report by Josh Eidelson of In These Times). And, to add insult to injury, the indictment was not filed by the DOJ of the Imperial President, George W. Bush, but by a president who campaigned on the idea that his would be the "Most Transparent Administration in History." More...


Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!
By Chris Kitze
Posted March 19, 2012

peacetime martial lawThis Executive Order was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov web site on Friday, March 16, 2012, under the name National Defense Resources Preparedness. In a nutshell, it's the blueprint for Peacetime Martial Law and it gives the president the power to take just about anything deemed necessary for "National Defense", whatever they decide that is. It's peacetime, because as the title of the order says, it's for "Preparedness". A copy of the entire order follows the end of this story.

Under this new Executive Order, cabinet heads are authorized to loan money, offer loan guarantees and even subsidize payments at above market rates (no bid contracts?) for whatever they need. This could make Solyndra or Halliburton look like Junior Achievement. Nothing like a war will generate these kinds of huge profits for the corporate "partners" and you can bet the bankers and contractors are already lining up for this one -- because under this order no war is even required! More...


Evolving Global Financial Crisis: Selling "Foreclosed Homes"
by Bob Chapman
Posted March 12, 2012

Criminal behaviorThe government is preparing to package and sell foreclosed homes. We do not know what discount to the current market there will be but you can guess it will be 20% or more. These homes will only be available to big buyers such as hedge funds and others with enormous amounts of capital. It is expected that the homes will be sold in lots of 5,000 to 10,000 and the minimum bid would be $1 billion. This is corporatist fascists busy at work.

Ten years ago we can only remember one other European journalist exposing the scam that Goldman Sachs had pulled for Greece and Italy to falsely qualify them for euro zone membership. Everyone else looked the other way and now we found out that this is why both countries are in serious debt problems. Mind you, this was all done in secret but European insiders knew what was going on and looked the other way. They wanted the exports and for the euro zone to be the foundation for world government. Goldman disguised a $793 million loan as a derivative transaction. Now the bill for the Greek government from Goldman is $6.8 billion. Goldman and the Greek politicians sold out the Greek people. That year Goldman made 12% of their revenues from Greece. More...


Politicians Won't Return Ponzi Payoffs
by Michael Winship
Posted March 10, 2012

Money in politicsOn Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud. Media accounts of Stanford's conviction were filled with stories of his excesses — mansions, private yachts and jets, and so much money invested in Antigua — including bribes — the small island awarded him a knighthood. Among his other indulgences, noted the Reuters news service: "He bought a castle in Florida for one of his girlfriends and his oldest daughter lived in a million-dollar condominium in Houston. He wore custom-made suits and bankrolled a $20 million prize for an international cricket tournament."

But what most of this week's stories failed to mention was the large amount of his clients' cash that was spent on campaign contributions, greasing the corrupt nexus of money and politics for personal gain. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to candidates, including Barack Obama, John McCain, John Boehner and Harry Reid; as well as national fundraising committees for the Republican and Democratic parties. The court-appointed receiver charged with returning money to Stanford's investors is trying to get the contributions back. And the committees are resisting. More...


Will Wall Street Ever Face Justice?
by Phil Angelides
Posted March 7, 2012

no bankers arrestedFour years after the disintegration of the financial system, Americans have, rightfully, a gnawing feeling that justice has not been served. Claims of financial fraud against companies like Citigroup and Bank of America have been settled for pennies on the dollar, with no admission of wrongdoing. Executives who ran companies that made, packaged and sold trillions of dollars in toxic mortgages and mortgage-backed securities remain largely unscathed.

Last week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. proclaimed in a speech that when it comes to fighting financial fraud, the Obama administration's "record of success has been nothing less than historic." Such self-congratulation is not only premature, but it also reveals a troubling lack of understanding about what is required to win the war against financial wrongdoing. More...


The NDAA: A Clear and Present Danger to American Liberty
by Naomi Wolf
Posted March 5, 2012

military lockupThe US is sleepwalking into becoming a police state, where, like a pre-Magna Carta monarch, the president can lock up anyone. Yes, the worst things you may have heard about the National Defense Authorization Act, which has formally ended 254 years of democracy in the United States of America, and driven a stake through the heart of the bill of rights, are all really true. The act passed with large margins in both the House and the Senate on the last day of last year – even as tens of thousands of Americans were frantically begging their representatives to secure Americans' habeas corpus rights in the final version.NDAA critics say that it enables ordinary US citizens to be treated like 'enemy combatants' in Guantánamo.

It does indeed – contrary to the many flatout-false form letters I have seen that both senators and representatives sent to their constituents, misleading them about the fact that the NDAA destroys their due process rights. Under the act, anyone can be described as a 'belligerent". More...


Goodbye, First Amendment: 'Trespass Bill' will make protest illegal
Posted March 2, 2012

protests illegalJust when you thought the government couldn't ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country. Covered under the bill is any person protected by the Secret Service. Although such protection isn't extended to just everybody, making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest. More...


The 50-State Foreclosure Settlement, Why Hasn't Anyone Gone to Jail?
by Mike Whitney
Posted February 23, 2012

Banker face no jailUnder the terms of the 50-state mortgage foreclosure settlement, US taxpayers could end up paying billions in penalties that were supposed to be paid by the banks. That's the gist of a front-page story which appeared in the Financial Times on Thursday, February 17. The widely-cited article by Shahien Nasiripour notes that the 5 banks that will be effected by the settlement — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial – will be able to use Obama's mortgage modification program (HAMP) to reduce loan balances and "receive cash payments of up to 63 cents on the dollar for every dollar of loan principal forgiven."

Keep in mind, that the banks are really only on the hook for $5 billion in cash. The rest of the $25 billion settlement will be shrugged off onto investors in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) many of who are retirees and pensioners. They're going to get clobbered while the perpetrators of this nationwide crime walk away Scott-free. More...


After MF Global, Are your funds safe?
by Jesse
Posted February 18, 2012

Blantant theft by MF GlobalThe MF Global money was not vaporized, it is not missing, and it was not "highly compromised."

It was stolen, and not once but twice. In today's environment the protections that investors and depositors think that they have is thin stuff indeed. People think that they are safeguarded by regulation and legal statements, and they think they have equal protection under the law, as compared to the corporate leviathans and political insiders like Jon Corzine.

To use customer funds in this manner is a violation of fiduciary trust, known in lesser circles as STEALING. MF Global thought they could take the money and put it back with no one being the wiser, but they were caught up in the discovery of events. This is not much different than taking company money to pay your private debts, and then failing to return them before the loss is discovered.

Who is to say that Wall Street will not steal customer money and embezzle depositors funds even if Glass-Steagall is reinstated? If there are no investigations and prosecutions for such a blatant theft as this, how can anything or anyone ever be safe? More...


Mortgage settlement is great — for politicians and banks
By Michael Hiltzik
Posted February 17, 2012

Deal good for banksThe settlement mostly requires mortgage lenders and servicers to comply with what I would have thought was already the law, which prohibits, you know, criminal fraud.

The signatories to the deal are Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), which handle payments on more than half the nation's outstanding 27 million home loans and therefore have been at the center of the servicing and foreclosure abuses the settlement is supposed to end.

If you don't listen too closely, it sounds as if they're putting up the $25 billion. Not so. The only cold cash the banks are paying is a combined $5 billion, including $1.5 billion to compensate borrowers whose homes were foreclosed on from 2008 through the end of last year, with the rest going to the federal and state governments to pay for regulatory programs. More...


Why the Foreclosure Deal May Not Be So Hot After All
by Matt Taibbi
Posted February 10, 2012

Eric Holder has donr NOTHING to prosecute financial fraudSo they settled the case in a way that reads in headlines like it's a bite out of the banks, but in fact is barely even that. There will be little in the way of real compensation for stuggling homeowners, and there are serious issues in the area of the deal's enforceability. In fact, about the only part of the deal we can be absolutely sure will be honored in full is the liability waiver for the robosigning offenses.

Really this looks like America's public prosecutors just wilted before the prospect of a long, drawn-out conflict with an army of highly-paid, determined white-shoe banker lawyers. The message this sends is that if you commit crimes on a large enough scale, and have enough high-priced legal talent sitting at the negotiating table after you get caught, the government will ultimately back down, conceding the inferiority of its resources. More...

Why is Eric Holder the spokesperson for this deal? He has done NOTHING to prosecute financial crimes. With this abrogation of the Dept of Justice responsibilities, the states finally had to step in. Now that these states were starting to get somewhere, the administration steps in a pressures them for a setllement? TIME TO FIRE ERIC HOLDER!


The Money Masters Live in Fear
by Rudy Avizius
Posted February 9, 2012

fraud on a massive scaleMost people in the United States have long suspected that a "shadow government" exists and that the real power in the country resides in that dark location, not in our elected government. The citizens instinctly know that our elected officials are really nothing more than the hired servants of the money masters and are beholden to them if they wish to retain their positions of power.

A quick look at the curtain which they hide behind reveals one shadowy organization that represents the interests of these money masters, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association also known as ISDA. The officers and directors of this organization include most of the major banks in the world including the largest banks in the United States. One of the purposes of the ISDA is determine if a "credit event" is actually a default. If a "credit event" is declared to be a default, then Credit Default Swap (CDS) contracts come into play.

So what do derivatives and Credit Default Swaps have to do with all this, how do they affect people on the street, and why are the money masters so concerned about them? More...


U.S. Home Foreclosures and Shadow Banking: Why All the "Robo-signing"?
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 6, 2012

robo signing notariesA foreclosure settlement between five major banks guilty of “robo-signing” and the attorneys general of the 50 states is pending for Monday, February 6th; but it is still not clear if all the AGs will sign. California was to get over half of the $25 billion in settlement money, and California AG Kamala Harris has withstood pressure to settle.

That is good. She and the other AGs should not sign until a thorough investigation has been conducted. The evidence to date suggests that “robo-signing” was not a mere technical default or sloppy business practice but was part and parcel of a much larger fraud, the fraud that brought down the whole economy in 2008. It is not just distressed homeowners but the entire economy that has paid the price, resulting in massive unemployment and a shrunken tax base, throwing state and local governments into insolvency and forcing austerity measures and cutbacks in government services across the nation. More...


Obama Orders Military-Police Department Joint Exercises in Los Angeles, Other Cities
by Ralph Lopez
Posted February 1, 2012

Military in our citiesAn LAPD press release states:
The Los Angeles Police Department will be providing support for a joint military training exercise in and around the great Los Angeles area. This will be routine training conducted by military personnel, designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirements.

Chris Hedges in an interview with Democracy Now speculated that, since the national security establishment, NSA, FBI and other agencies charged with protecting the country against terrorists actually lobbied against the NDAA, the true impetus for it was the fear among corporate elites of an expanding Occupy Wall Street movement this summer.

Hedges said:
"And I think, without question, the corporate elites understand that things, certainly economically, are about to get much worse. I think they're worried about the Occupy movement expanding. And I think that, in the end—and this is a supposition—they don't trust the police to protect them, and they want to be able to call in the Army." More...


A Web of Financial Fraud and Criminality: America's Shadow Banking System
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 27, 2012

bankstersThe Wall Street Journal reported on January 19th that the Obama Administration was pushing heavily to get the 50 state attorneys general to agree to a settlement with five major banks in the "robo-signing" scandal. The scandal involves employees signing names not their own, under titles they did not really have, attesting to the veracity of documents they had not really reviewed. Investigation reveals that it did not just happen occasionally but was an industry-wide practice, dating back to the late 1990s; and that it may have clouded the titles of millions of homes. If the settlement is agreed to, it will let Wall Street bankers off the hook for crimes that would land the rest of us in jail – fraud, forgery, securities violations and tax evasion.

Whether massive robo-signing occurred is no longer in issue. The question that needs to be investigated is why it was being done. The alleged justification—that the bankers were so busy that they cut corners—hardly seems credible given the extent of the practice. More..


Occupy The Justice System: Jury Nullification
by Dustin Slaughter
Posted January 20, 2012

Jury nullificationConsider the fact that the United States jails more people per capita than any other country in the world: 2.3 million Americans are currently behind bars, and a staggering 25% of those cases are for nonviolent drug offenses. Not only that, but the majority of those incarcerated for these offenses are predominantly African American. This is taking an unimaginable toll on their community. Empowering jurors with the knowledge of jury nullification might be a tremendous first step in correcting an out-of-control criminal "justice" system, and would have the added effect of boldly challenging a monstrous prison-industrial-complex.

There is a storied precedent for this right of juries, dating back to the year 1215 with the inception of the Magna Carta. Another "high profile" example of this can be found in the story of Pennsylvania's own William Penn. A more notable instance of the use of jury nullification can be found in the history of the Fugitive Slave Act during the 1850s. Indeed, the right of juries to nullify is embedded in our very own Bill of Rights. More...


A Rare Look Inside Our "Humane" Immigration Jails
by Seth Freed Wessler
Posted January 9, 2012

ironicI gained access to the Baker County Jail and five other immigration detention centers as a researcher, working for Colorlines.com's publisher, the Applied Research Center. ICE intermittently allows researchers from human rights groups to enter the facilities to interview detainees and check on conditions. Until recently, the facilities have been almost entirely closed and when I mention to immigration advocates that I've spent time in the jails, they look at me with bewilderment. The interiors of detention centers might as well be black sites, cast off the political map except for the rare instances of abuse so egregious that they blip onto our ethical radar.

America's immigration detention centers are in the business of warehousing men and women who have suffered trauma—the sorts of people whom reasonable governments should aim to protect, and indeed whom the U.S. has laws to protect. Instead, they are locked up, thrown into these legal purgatories and traded as pawns in a political and financial game. More...


MF Global & Government-Sponsored Theft
by Sara Noble
Posted January 3, 2012

outright theftThe United States financial situation, which appears to be insoluble at the moment, could end up dwarfing the euro debt crisis. It is hard to trust our financial system when we see the theft of millions of customer dollars as in the current MF Global scandal. The disappearing $1.2 billion is only part of the story.

Regulators in charge of investigating MF Global were supposed to safeguard clients money. Instead the regulators shut customers out of their segregated accounts, basically stole the money, and used it to pay off creditors like JP Morgan. Segregated accounts are like safety deposit boxes that should not be touched under any circumstances.

The money never belonged to MF Global and it was not theirs to give but the regulators allowed this to happen. More...

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